With less than two weeks remaining for the all-important seven-phase 2019 Lok Sabha polls to begin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave his first election interview, speaking on a wide range of topics with Republic Media Network Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
Ranging from what he believes is necessary for a healthy democracy, such as his reasons for why the people of India will choose a government with absolute majority, to matters of national security such as the Pulwama terror attack, the subsequent IAF airstrikes on Pakistan's Balakot terror base and India's recent A-SAT success, to detailing his government's actions on corruption and fugitive absconders, the Prime Minister addressed a plethora of issues that are likely to determine the election outcome on May 23 when the vote-counting is held.
On the kind of global coordination and planning that was required for 'Mission Shakti':
PM Modi spoke about the Opposition downgrading India's success in conducting 'Mission Shakti' saying "I think, the basic knowledge that is needed, there seems to be a lack of it in their statements. The second thing, call it an adventure or an initiative, they don't happen suddenly." Watch here -
'During Model Code of Conduct, can government say it's not on duty?'
PM Modi being questioned about breaking the Model Code of Conduct said, "On many occasions, it so happened, that despite Election Commission's code of conduct being in place, budget session of many states is still underway. Budgets are coming in, speeches are being made. Everything is happening."
On governments with 'Poorna Bahumat':
PM Modi on what he the people think about coalition governments said "People have made up their mind that if a government if elected, it should be elected with a total majority."
PM Modi's take on the number of seats his party will win this time:
On India's fight against terror:
PM Modi spoke about Pakistan's inaction against its home-grown terror towards India. "I don't want to get stuck in that trap (Pakistan assuring action and then not taking any) till the time that the world witnesses visible action."
On Opposition praising Pakistan PM Imran Khan, but criticizing their own PM:
On the Opposition saying that the Pulwama attack was a conspiracy, he said, "No person in this country can doubt the patriotism of Narendra Modi. Nobody can do it. My life speaks for me, I don't need words."
On the effectiveness of his government's schemes:
On Opposition's 'Chaiwala' attack:
On fugitive economic offenders and willful defaulters:
PM Modi spoke about the government bringing back the absconding economic fugitives, "We brought in the bankruptcy law, they've lost their companies and are now on the footpath. Their companies are in the hands of proper managements now. So, we have taken steps".
On the corruption that used to take place in Defence deals:
'Who wanted to impeach the Supreme Court Chief Justice, who brought Emergency?'
PM Modi spoke about the Opposition's efforts to impeach then CJI Dipak Misra. "Those who have seen Modi in the last 13 to 15 years in Gujarat, they know what PM Modi has gone through. Who tried to impeach Supreme Court's Chief Justice? Who made the statement that there should be committed judges in Supreme Court?" he said.
On Congress' 'NYAY' minimum income guarantee scheme:
On Opposition's allegations that the government works for industrialists:
PM Modi spoke about his role towards the people of the nation. "Accept that the people of this country have assigned me a job. I don't have the right to live for myself. Whatever time the people of this country allow me to do that, I will work for the nation. On his role given to him by the people of India."